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Owners rescue Access Bank (Gambia) Limited

May 13, 2014, 10:15 AM

The Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) on Monday returned Access Bank (Gambia) Limited to its owners, after the investors in the bank “injected capital of US$15.2 million (about D600 million) to recapitalize the bank, and made a commitment to inject an additional US$4.8 million (about D189 million).”

The CBG in a press statement recalled that it took over Access Bank on 5 May, due to “the impairment of the bank’s capital below the minimum requirement of D200 million.”

The owners of Access Bank subsequently responded to the CBG take over, and “consequently, the Central Bank of The Gambia acting under the Banking Act 2000 has decided to return Access Bank (Gambia) Limited to their owners with effect t from Monday 12 May 2014.

“The Central Bank of The Gambia would continue to ensure that banks in The Gambia operate in a safe and sound manner,” the CBG added.

It would be recalled that two commercial banks in The Gambia namely, Keystone Bank (Gambia) Limited and Access Bank (Gambia) Limited, were on Monday 5 May 2014 taken over by the CBG, which announced this in a press release, “for the information of the general public”.

The CBG said it was acting under the Banking Act 2009, and that “this is with a view to safeguarding the financial system, in particular, and the economy, in general”.

According to the said release, “under this arrangement, the Central Bank of The Gambia has full and exclusive powers to manage and control the two banks to ensure that they operate in a safe and sound manner.”

“The two banks would continue business as usual, and depositors are assured that the banks have ample liquidity to meet current and future obligations,” it added.

The Point reported at the timer that the CBG did not clearly state the reason why it was taking over the two commercial banks.

However, it would be recalled that the CBG in January 2013 raised the minimum capital requirement for commercial banks to operate in The Gambia, from D150 million to D200 million.

Access Bank (Gambia) Limited is described on its web site as a full service commercial bank operating as a private limited liability company.

Incorporated on June 27, 2006, the bank is owned 75% by Access Bank Plc. (a top ten Nigerian bank) and 25% by Gambian investors.

The bank commenced operations in The Gambia on 27 October 2006 after receiving the CBG operating license.

The bank has branches at strategic locations in the country. Currently, the staff strength is 178.